So many diets makes you lose weight while losing not only fat but, water and muscle, which is counterproductive if you are seeking for a real improve in your body.
The body weight implies many things for example: water, glycogen, bones, muscle and fat.
There is easier as we think, to lose weight the main formula is: consume less calories than your body needs to burn for energy, performing all of the tasks it needs during the day. When that caloric deficit is present, your body is forced to find some alternative source of energy on your body to burn instead and that is the moment when fat burn should begin. The problem is the alternative source could be body fat, lean muscle or a combination of both and the optimal way to lose weight is maintaining muscle mass or even increasing it, to obtain the best results in a healthy and toned body without the fat you do not need.
This picture shows how looks percentage of fat in the body.
Why is so important your muscle mass?
Increasing muscle mass gives many benefits to everyone, not only to lose weight also to improve your life in many ways. Lean muscle mass helps your body to burn more calories, more efficiently. The more toned your muscles are, more calories are burned even when you rest. For every pound of muscle you get, your body will need more calories, around 50 per day, which helps you to lose weight.
It is important to consider that as we reach the age of older adult, muscles begin to decrease and therefore must be prevent, increase and preserve muscle mass to maintain muscle strength and enjoy a physical activity. Muscle mass helps protect your joints for injury.
Toned and strong muscles make you feel better, improve performance in your physical activities, enhance your appearance and increase your self-esteem.
How to lose fat and maintain muscle?
1. EAT PROTEIN
The most important dietary requirement to maintain muscle mass, is the enough daily protein intake. The regular recommendation is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
2. WEIGHT TRAINING
The training stimulus required for maintaining your current levels of strength, is the minimum your body needs to lose fat without losing muscle. It is a myth lifting lighter weight with more reps to lose fat, you need to lift heavy weight to build muscle and then lift that same heavy weight to maintain that muscle.
3. RECOVER PROPERLY
The workout routine you were or would be using to build muscle or increase strength under normal circumstances (no calories deficit), will often be too much for your body to tolerate and optimally recover form in the energy deficient state it is currently in. If you are not recovering properly from your workouts, you could have a loss of strength which leads to loss of muscle. So you have to adjust your weight training program to compensate for the caloric deficit. You can reduce the total amount of sets, reps or exercises or the total amount of workouts being done per week and per muscle group.
If you are a beginner you must consult a professional to design a routine.
4. PRE & POST WORKOUT NUTRITION
The meals you eat before or during your workout must give you energy to perform better your routine. What you eat after your workout is basic for optimizing the recovery process.
The most popular recommendation for what to eat:
- 1 or 2 hours before working out : 0.25 g Protein and 0.25 g Carbs per pound of your target body weight.
- Within the first 30 or 60 minutes after working out: 0.25 g Protein and 0.25 g Carbs per pound of your target body weight.
5. SMART REDUCTION OF CALORIES
If you want to lose body fat, you need to reduce your calorie intake below maintenance level so stored fat can be burned for energy instead. A smart caloric deficit will be 20% below maintenance level, because a large caloric deficit could have a negative impact on training and recovery, can increase the potential for strength and muscle loss.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and steady state cardio are very useful fat loss tools, because you can burn calories and improve your metabolism.
But it is very important not exceed cardio because you can start loosing muscle instead fat. So around 30 minutes of HIIT or 30-60 minutes of low intensity walking won’t cut into recovery and preserve your muscles.
7. EAT HEALTHY FOODS
In terms of count calories, it is the same if came from unhealthy, dirty, processed foods or from healthy, clean, natural foods. Obviously in terms of overall health, appetite control, nutrients and diet adherence there are a big difference and is 100% recommended getting the most of your calories from higher quality foods rather than unhealthy, garbage food.